My staff and I conduct playground safety audits all over the country and we often find confusion (by owners, designers, users, and maintenance crews) on what type of equipment should be reviewed to the playground standards. My hope is that the following article can provide some clarification to the confusion. As with many aspects of life, there is a lot of gray and very little black and white on this issue, and I would strongly suggest contacting your equipment manufacturer to receive their opinions.
Is it a reasonable expectation of parents that our children are safe when playing on a playground? Safety standards, especially those related to playground safety surfaces, play a huge role in answering this question. But are the safety standards really safe? It could be argued that they currently are not.
What if any serious injuries have we reduced over the past 30 years? For more than 30 years the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been gathering and analyzing injury data. During this time, falls to the surface have been the leading cause of playground injuries requiring medical attention. Fall-related injuries continue to be one of the four leading causes of death on playgrounds. The debate on whether the percentage of injuries due to falls has increased or decreased since the CPSC began analyzing injury data will continue but we cannot deny falls are still the number one cause of injuries requiring medical attention.